I was  aching after a great late summer evening paddle at the Lea Valley Whitewater centre on Thursday night. It was a real mates session, with me and Wendy the only kayaks on the Olympic course, and Mark Coleman on duty steering the only commercial raft. Made for a nice relaxed atmosphere, with warm water and even a scenic sunset!

The course has a couple of good surfing waves on it, perhaps the best being just below Jaws, the first major drop. It’s fast but not too steep, easy to catch with good re-circulating eddies below it on both sides so you rarely get flushed far downstream if you come off the back or roll. Although the young guns can pull blunts and donkey flips, I was happy to just to surf and try 360 spins. I struggle with throwing my edges hard enough for the aerial moves, and find it harder on a wave like this that hasn’t got a big shoulder. Something to work on.

I started to think about how fantastic it was to go straight from a day at work (in my case, having to wear a suit and tie for a meeting in the City of London), to having a blast on great white-water with good friends. Like many people with job and family commitments, time is precious and my days of living a full-time paddling life are well in the past. So what are the other classic ‘after-work’ paddling spots around the world? Where is it possible to go from work to white-water in half an hour or so? How about we build up a top ten list? No surprises that I think Lea Valley should be on this list!

Comments please…..

The other bonus last night was getting some neat and very flattering photos, courtesy of Dave from Rapid Focus Photography. www.rapid-focus.co.uk

Better than work!

Better than work!